Black women on Albion College’s campus, both students and alumni, have been doing phenomenal work to create a more inclusive space for marginalized students.
From Ida B. Wells to Angela Davis to Laverne Cox, Black women have historically been on the front lines as trail blazers for change while simultaneously being one of the most disrespected, unprotected and neglected women in this country and around the world. Despite being constantly struck down by society, Black women continually rise up.
Black women on Albion’s campus are no different. Despite all the trials and tribulations they have to face on an everyday basis, Black women at Albion continue to take charge in leadership roles and make campus a place for the better. And they deserve their credit.
The Pleiad’s “Black Women Winning” series aims to highlight Black women on campus and all they have achieved and continue to achieve.
Morgan Armstrong, a senior from Albion, is secretary of Psi Chi, administrative assistant for the Black Alumni Chapter and a passionate advocate for the mental health and rights of the Black community and communities of color. This passion shines through her academic ambitions.
Armstrong is also the first student to be in her position in the Black Alumni Chapter.
“This the first time that they’ve had a student in this position, kind of like a student liaison,” said Armstrong. “So, I am also in the process of trying to build what this looks like for future students and how they can benefit from it.”
She has been a great help constructing the Black Alumni Chapter, which is something that is fairly new to campus.
“I help with event planning and program coordinating. I helped write the mission statement,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong is working with associate professor of political science and director of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program Dr. Carrie Walling, who is in the process of writing a book that will contain political resources for students.
“It’s still in the works, but we constructed this tool kit that basically is like a ‘how to’ to respond to possible human rights violations that take place on campus,” said Armstrong. “It kind of gives a guide on how to prepare for something like that or how to respond to something like that.”
Additionally, Armstrong said she is working to push out her op-ed, which is an opinion based piece of writing centered around motivating students into professing their advocacy.
“My goal for this op-ed is to figure out how to show people you can still be active on campus. You can be active where you are really, not even just on campus, but as a young person who’s passionate about the issues that are happening, and also [while] being safe during COVID,” said Armstrong.
In addition to writing the op-ed, Armstrong is also working on her thesis that voices her strong feelings about mental health wellness.
“I’ll be collecting data on and looking at why there’s differences in health care seeking behavior between races and what can we do to kind of increase the number of people who do not normally go to therapy to go to therapy,” said Armstrong. “And once they get there, how can we keep them in therapy.”
Armstrong is not only interested in increasing participation in therapy, but renovating the structure of it so that it is more specific to individuality instead of taking what she called a “control approach to therapy.”
“How can we diagnose them correctly when we get them?” said Armstrong. “How can we create treatment plans that’s tailored to them specifically, and how can we be considerate of all the elements that created this issue?”
A part of Armstrong’s academic work is making sure there is representation in the mental health field.
“There have been a group of people, not just Black people, people of color, who have been neglected in the research,” said Armstrong. “When I say research, I mean research like ‘what’s best for these people,’ ‘the research being done to them.’ There’s not enough research on behalf of them.”
Armstrong said that the community of color has gone unrecognized in the mental health profession for what might have been 500 plus years, and she wants to change that.
“It has been years and years and years worth of trauma that has gone unchecked, and I’m tired of it. It’s around me,” said Armstrong. “I think maybe in high school was when I took a second, and I looked around at my peers and even my family members and myself, and I said, ‘Something’s not right.’”
Armstrong said she believes true healing starts with tending to the psychology of a person.
“It’s time to take care of ourselves, and I think it starts up here [in the mind], and I think a lot of people’s potential and what they are really meant to do and their true purpose starts up here, and I think it starts with taking care of our mind,” said Armstrong.